Friday, March 04, 2011

Life Is All About The Addiction

I came up with this theory a month into my Freshman year of college, and so far it has proven reliable.

Here's the premise of my theory: As modern day humans, we thrive on addiction. Whether it's drugs, cigarettes, caffeine, sex, or food, we need it to function in our every day lives.

Sounds dumb, right? Not everyone is addicted to something, and there's no way an addiction can improve the daily functioning of a person. But consider this: addiction is at the core of the behaviorist views. Make it through the day, reward yourself. Make it half way through the day, reward yourself. Wake up, reward yourself. That's basically how this works. 

It starts with finding your vice. Everyone is different. Some people get more mental stimulation* from drugs, others get a kick out of a good pizza, and others yet get it from socialization. It starts off as a small reward for an accomplishment, such as completing a TPS report, getting a promotion, or just making it through the day without strangling someone. Later, the vice becomes more appealing, and you find yourself rewarding smaller and smaller accomplishments. Finally, the vice becomes an addiction, and the person needs it to function. This is basically how all addiction starts.

I argue here that light addiction (something a person needs to function, but is not overly debilitating [think of caffeine addiction, but with other things]) is needed to make it through life and is had by everyone. I point you to a college campus, the birth of this theory. What do kids do? Socialize, drink, have sex, eat a lot, single-handedly support the coffee industry, smoke, et cetera. What happens to these kids? Yes, most of them drop out. But if you look at it, most of the drop outs occur in the Freshman and Sophomore years. And these drop out form debilitating addictions. The people that form the light addictions tend to do fairly well for themselves. 

This is not isolated to college campuses either. Look at the workforce: How much coffee is consumed in a typical work day? How many smoke breaks? How many trips to the bar after a long day? Successful people (well, more successful than being unemployed) all having an addiction that helps them out.

Further reinforcement of this idea: What happens when you take away light addiction? Productivity goes does, the person becomes distracted, and overall irritability. With addiction, you focus on the one thing you want and the task at hand. When you partake in your addiction, your craving is satisfied, and that allows you then completely focus on the task at hand. 

Everyone has mild addictions. We need them to function. We need the distractions, the pleasures they bring, the enjoyment of it all. Without them, life is dull and painful. So go to a party and feed the social addiction. Brew a cup of coffee for your own health. Fire up a cancer stick; it's good for you. Embrace it and move on. There's work to be done.

*For these purposes, mental stimulation will include actual mental stimulation, pleasure, and joy.

Did I really just say that? Yes. Yes I did. Feel the need to correct me because I'm wrong? Did I miss an important point? Or do you want to tell me that I'm right ( <-very unlikely)? In any case, contact me and let me know what you think, or leave a comment for everyone to enjoy!

No comments: